Arkansas Politics

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) speaks to the Arkansas Workforce Development Board in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The newly constituted Arkansas Workforce Development Board held its first meeting Tuesday to begin building a long-term plan to re-align public education, skills training and industry needs.

The AWDB was created as part of a larger overhaul of the state’s workforce services passed in the Arkansas Legislature’s 2014 regular session.

Dennis Milligan treasurer
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan and his Chief of Staff Jim Harris have agreed to mediation in a defamation lawsuit filed by a fired treasurer's office employee.

Attorneys for former outreach manager David Singer and attorney general's office attorneys representing Milligan and Harris said Tuesday that they had reached an agreement for mediation late Monday night.

Milligan was not present during a hearing in Pulaski County Circuit Court Tuesday because of unspecified medical issues. Reached by phone, Harris declined to comment on the mediation.

Dennis Milligan treasurer
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network has refunded donations from Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan and his Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Brady.

Ray Carson, the cancer group's Associate Director of Media Advocacy for the South Region, says the group had received the checks last week and notified both men that they would be refunded. Carson says there is an ongoing investigation as of Monday into allegations that Brady, a former action network employee, worked on Milligan's campaign for state treasurer using his email address at the nonprofit.

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin heads the Common Core task force.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas officials have moved to change the state's standardized testing provider as part of an ongoing review of whether to retain Common Core education standards.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday that the state will terminate its agreement with Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and instead contract with ACT.

The Governor's Council on Common Core Review recommended the move in part because of ACT's national recognition and shorter testing times.

The Fayetteville City Council will consider whether to send a new anti-discrimination ordinance to voters in a proposed Sept. 8 special election. Alderwoman Adella Gray, who is sponsoring the ordinance, said Thursday the new version is "very different" from a previous ordinance the city council passed last year.

A participant in a 2013 march in Jonesboro by the group Arkansas Carry.
Lilyan Kauffman

Whether or not it is legal to openly carry firearms in Arkansas continues to be mired in uncertainty two years after the law that prompted the question passed the Legislature. 

Renewed interest was sparked this week by comments from Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin (R) on social media stating he believes open carry is legal.

Griffin’s opinion on the 2013 law - branded at the time as a clean up bill for a law on traveling with a firearm - is supported by Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko with over 15,000 signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas stopped by the state Capitol Tuesday to deliver 15,000-plus signatures to be recognized an official party, allowing its candidates to be placed on the 2016 ballot. State party chairman Michael Pakko said this year Libertarians began the petition process early to mitigate what third-party supporters often characterize as an unfair initial requirement for recognition.

“These are petitions requesting that we become a new political party in Arkansas, once again, for the third time,” said Pakko.

Dennis Milligan treasurer
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Jefferson County Republican Committee is calling for the resignation of Republican Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan.

In a letter dated Sunday and sent to Milligan, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb, committee Chairman Peter Smykla writes that the committee is expressing its disappointment in Milligan's "betrayal of our confidence and trust." The letter does not cite a specific incident that resulted in the call for Milligan to resign.

Talk Business & Politics

Arkansas’ junior senator, Tom Cotton, likes the crowded GOP field of potential Presidential candidates and says he’s a long way from making a decision on who he will support.

Sen. Cotton, R-Ark., was a guest on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics with Roby Brock, which airs Monday evening at 6:06 p.m. on KUAR.

Private option eligibility by county.
Arkansas Department of Human Services

The number of Arkansans approved as eligible to enroll in the state’s expansion of Medicaid, known as the private option, has surpassed 250,000 people. That’s an upward tick of 8,696 people deemed eligible from March 31st to April 30th.

A release Friday by the state Department of Human Services reports 234,791 people have actually been enrolled, up from 229,599 in the previous month.